The Pittsburgh Panthers, despite the perceived lack of respect from the national media for being unranked most of the season, finally get recognition at the most important time of the year. For the first time since the 2015-16 season, the Panthers are back in the NCAA tournament.
WE'RE IN‼️— Pitt Basketball (@Pitt_MBB) March 12, 2023
The Panthers are back in the big dance! pic.twitter.com/lxE6gUsLNW
Pitt made it in as a No.11 seed and will play the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a first-four matchup on Tuesday at 9:00 PM eastern time. The matchup in Dayton Ohio will be for the right to play in the first round of the NCAA tournament against the Iowa State Cyclones.
“We’re excited and honored to be selected to be a part of the NCAA Tournament,” said head coach Jeff Capel. “We look forward to going to Dayton and playing against a really good Mississippi State team from the SEC.”
The Panthers resume planted Pitt firmly on the bubble, with some nerves about how the committee would feel about the team. The Panthers were 4-4 in Quad One games, 3-5 in Quad Two games, 5-1 in Quad 3 games, and 10-1 in Quad Four games. The NET rankings continued to be a hot topic all season long and the Panthers made it finishing 67th in that ranking. While the loss to Notre Dame made things a little more difficult than they needed to be, the Panthers still did enough to lock in their postseason opportunity.
Now Pitt can turn their sights to the big dance. Led by All-ACC performers Blake Hinson and Jamarius Burton, the Panthers now have a chance to showcase their veteran roster in a tournament where experience and the ability to play under pressure matter most.